Dash Cam Trouble
Seattle officer turns off video, forgets to turn off microphone.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: February 20th, 2012
olice dashboard cameras are becoming more and more of a hot-button issue, and in the case of one Seattle police officer, it seems things are coming to a head after he allegedly turned off the dash cam during one traffic stop.
"We're terrified of hanging out in our own city." --Christopher Franklin.
Josh Lawson, 23, and Christopher Franklin, 22, were arrested in November 2010, and part of the arrest was caught on tape by the camera. But key points of the situation are missing, and it's unclear as to whether the officer intentionally turned off the camera before getting out of his car. Lawson and Franklin claim they were kicked, arrested at gunpoint, and held in jail for several hours by a cop who said he was going to "make stuff up" about their arrest.
The officer's uniform microphone recorded the officer saying he was going to "make stuff up," but the Seattle Police Department says the comment was just "banter," and Officer Brad Richardson has since been exonerated of any wrongdoing.
The recording of the arrest shows the two men being picked up off the ground and being put into the police car. Since none of the released video footage shows Officer Richardson in the moments right as he made the stop or allegedly kicked Lawson, the police department says that the review of the video was due to "serious concern about practices that could have a disparate impact on minority communities."
Unfortunately, the Seattle PD's Sergeant, Sean Whitcomb, says that video recording is something that police should be doing, but "it's not a violation not to."
The problem here, also, is that without the video evidence, it's hard to verify either side of the story. Franklin and Lawson allegedly did not fit the description of suspects of a robbery, even though they were being arrested, while Richardson had written in the police report that the men continued to approach the car even after he yelled at them to stop.
Franklin and Lawson have filed a complaint for damages, which could possibly be the first step in a lawsuit.
"We're terrified of hanging out in our own city. These officers have seen our faces. They know our names. We can't trust people," Franklin said.
No charges were filed against the men.
[Source: ABC News]